Exodus 6: The Mighty Hand of God
As we closed chapter 5, we see a discouraged Moses asking God- is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.
We need to understand, when we take a stand for the Lord, when we are prepared to obey what God has commanded us to do- we must expect opposition. Moses is being schooled in a school many of us have attended- the school of hard knocks. If we are to take up the position God has for us, we must get alone with God and pour out our hearts as we seek wisdom and strength. Moses must be bold before the Pharaoh and the people, but broken before God. Good lesson for all of us to learn.
So as we begin chapter six, we are privileged to hear Gods answer to Moses prayerful pleas for understanding of the situation. God will encourage Moses the same way He will encourage us- with His promises.
God says to Moses: NOW, you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of this country. Gods Hand of mighty power is about to enter the empty glove represented by a discouraged Moses who is at the end of self. Mans emptiness, the recognition of weakness is the opportunity for God to take the work into His own hands. Jesus would tell Paul, my power is made perfect in weakness.
God reminds Moses ( and us) I am the Lord. God will remind Moses several times- I am the Lord. He will use His covenant name, Jehovah, as well as the name, God Almighty. God Almighty in Hebrew is El Shaddai- the all sufficient and all powerful God. Have you experienced the truth of these names in your life? Is He Lord? Is He the Promise Keeping God, Jehovah, in your life? Is God your source of power and sufficiency? Like Moses and the Israelites and all believers through the ages, Gods revelation of Himself to us is progressive. Jesus said in John 17- And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only True God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
Watch what happens when God takes control of the situation. Look at these statements made by God and pay particular attention to those statements beginning with- I WILL.
I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob . I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord. ( Exodus 6:6-8) God started this pronouncement with the statement- I am the Lord and ends it with the same statement. In between, God reveals exactly what He will do because He is the Lord. Do you believe God is who He says He is? And can do what He says He can do?
Well, you might be thinking, this is God speaking to Moses regarding some specific things He is going to do for the Israelites 3500 years ago. How does this story have anything to do with me in 2012? Good question. First of all, the Word of God tells us God does not change. He is the same today as yesterday as He will be tomorrow and forever. Therefore we are learning how an unchanging God operates in relationships.
Gods word also tells us: For everything that was written in the past was to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of Scriptures ( Gods Word) we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) These stories were recorded for our instruction, so that we might see how an Almighty God works in the lives of His people. Jesus told us His Father is always at work.
Furthermore, Paul writes in Galatians 3 this important spiritual truth: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek , slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise.
These passages tells us God is immutable ( does not change); His Word is for our instruction, written to teach us about Himself and ourselves; and also we are Gods children through faith in Christ Jesus and thus Abrahams spiritual seed and heirs according to the promise.
Now look at these I Will statements and how they apply to us as Gods people, His family- sons and daughters.
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. Who did we say the Egyptians represented? The Egyptian slave masters represent our old nature, the flesh which kept us in bondage to sin. You and I were powerless to save ourselves only God could through His Mighty outstretched arm. He reached down to you and me. He has adopted us into His family- we are His people. He is our God. Jesus said at the Resurrection- I am going to my Father and your Father. And He has given us His Promises and we can live in those promises for they are now our possessions as His children. We are heirs to the promises. We have been set free from the yoke of sin that enslaved us, we have taken up the yoke of the Lord and are in the process of learning from Him; casting our cares upon Him.
The Israelites are still not convinced this will happen because they are still in cruel bondage. Sometimes it is the darkest just before dawn. But remember- the situation is not over until Truth walks into the situation. Truth is about to walk into the situation.
As chapter six closes, Moses is being sent to speak to the Pharaoh to tell him everything God has told him. Moses tells the Lord, I speak with faltering lips, why should the Pharaoh listen to me. Chapter 7 begins with this amazing statement: The Lord said to Moses, See, I have made you like God to the Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. God transmitted His word through His prophets. So Aaron will be Moses prophet and will transmit Gods message on Gods behalf. The True and Living God is about to clothe Himself in Moses and do mighty work that only Almighty God can do. Is this not also what Paul wrote in Galatians when he said you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ.
God then tells Moses exactly what to say. He also tells Moses what the response of the Pharaoh will be- he will harden his heart. God in turn will lay His hand upon Egypt with mighty acts of judgment and miraculous signs and wonders. And the Egyptians will know that I am Lord.
Let us see if we can understand why the Lord has chosen this way to accomplish His will. Why is God using this approach to free His people? We must remember who God is: – God Almighty who has all knowledge, all power,all wisdom and is Holy, Just and Righteous. God always does what will accomplish the most good, for the most people for the longest period of time by the best possible method. God does not make mistakes. God has the right to do anything and He always does what is right. Let us consider what God is doing here in this situation:
- Ultimate purpose is to bring the Pharaoh and Egyptians to their knees so they would be willing to let the Jews leave the land.
- The Lord is also revealing Himself to both the Israelites and Egyptians and proving He alone is God and there is no other.
- The miracles and plagues we will read about were also Gods way of judging the gods of Egypt as false and futile. Egyptians worshipped besides the Pharaoh some 80 different deities.
- The hardening of the Pharaohs heart to resist God was also to show the Israelites and us- there is no power that can prevail against Almighty God.
Here in chapter 7 of Exodus, the plagues will begin. God tells Moses and Aaron, the Pharaoh will say to you- perform a miracle. Then they would throw down the staff and it would become a snake. So lets pick up the story at this beginning of 10 rounds of plagues and miracles.
Verse 11 tells us: Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts. Each one of them threw down his staff and it became a snake. What are we to make of these two magicians who duplicated the staff- to snake feat? Paul tells us these two magicians are named Jannes and Jambre. ( 2 Timothy 3) Since the Garden of Eden, the devil has attacked Gods word. Paul said in the last days there would be terrible times with people ever learning but never coming to the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth, men of depraved minds.. ( 2 Timothy 3). People today are ever learning today, we have more knowledge than ever before in history. Yet more and more people reject the Bible as the Word of God, as absolute truth. As a country we have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values.
Here in Exodus is a picture of what the enemy has done in the past and continues to do today. Paul was always warning about the deceiver. Jesus told us the enemy would plant counterfeit believers in our midst in the parable of the tares in Matthew 13.
Satan also has a counterfeit gospel. Paul warns us of this in Galatians 1: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really NO GOSPEL AT ALL.
Satan has deceived many with a counterfeit righteousness. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to Gods righteousness. ( Romans 10). Really just describes relative truth, and a Im okay-youre okay philosophy that is so present in the world today in the name of tolerance. In fact this self righteousness is part of this counterfeit gospel. As Christians we believe Truth is represented in the person of Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible is the Word of God and it is absolute truth. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. These people will not realize their fatal error, until Truth walks in and this world and age ends and a new age begins.
This story in Exodus reminds us Satan can empower people to perform lying wonders. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. (2 Thess. 2) When one does not believe the Truth- they will believe a lie, especially one that validates their sins.
And we see what is the ultimate deception, Satan will produce a false Christ who will deceive the world. ( Revelation 13) ( 2 Thess 2)
Paul described these people who are deceived and those who deceive them- men of depraved minds. The word depraved means to be corrupt morally. When one is deprived of the Truth, the Word of God, their minds are conformed by the world instead of the Word. And who is the prince of this world? The devil, the deceiver, who has counterfeited a counterfeit gospel based on self righteousness and convinced many to abandon the Word of God as absolute truth.
Our study of Exodus reveals not only how God Almighty works it also shows us the strategies of the enemy. And so the battle begins . You do see it is a battle for the heart, soul and mind of each person, dont you?
The enemy is clever, wise and experienced. He has tricks up his sleeve like these magicians and can dazzle us with his lying wonders. The enemy will use educated intellectuals to convince us with their intellectual arguments that our beliefs in this ancient book are a sign of our lack of sophistication and education in this modern world.
Aarons staff/snake swallows the two snake/staffs of Jannes and Jambre. The Pharaoh, however, is not convinced and his heart became hardened and he would not listen to the Lord.
We will notice in the first five rounds of plagues, the Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Then God confirms the Pharaohs decision and God hardened the Pharaohs heart. The Spirit will not always strive with man we are told in Genesis. There is a line of no return a person can cross in their lives where they can no longer hear or see the Truth. And they will come to believe a lie.
God has revealed Himself to all of mankind with two witnesses, an external witness and an internal witness. Romans 1 & 2 describe these two witnesses. External is creation, Gods handiwork. Since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world, Gods invisible qualities His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ( Romans 1:19b,20) Also Psalms 19 makes it abundantly clear: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Thus they are without excuse.
Gods internal witness is mans conscience. Romans 2:14-15 tell us: Indeed when Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, since they show that the requirements of the law are written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing , now even defending them.
The question is what does one do with this knowledge, with these two witnesses that everyone has seen, heard in their own language and know? They have received light. The eternal question is what will they do with the light they have received?
Again the Word of God tells us what can happen. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who SUPPRESS THE TRUTH by their wickedness. So one response is to suppress the Truth.
Watch what happens when you suppress the Truth long enough: their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. ( Romans 1:21-23) SUPPRESSED TRUTH LEADS TO EXCHANGING TRUTH FOR A LIE.
Next watch the action God takes, and He does not take the death of the wicked lightly nor does He relish their destruction for God is love and He is not willing that any should perish but all would come to repentance. However, Jesus said, light has come into the world, but men preferred darkness. They chose not to obey the Word of God and rebelled against the Word of God. Their thinking became futile, their hearts and minds were darkened. God gives them over to their sinful desires.
Their minds become depraved. They do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. When Jesus came to earth, when God the Son became flesh and dwelt among us- what was the response? He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world would not recognize Him. He (Jesus) came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. ( John 1) TRUTH WALKED IN AND THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE TRUTH.
What happens to those who respond positively to the Truth, to the Gospel?
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or husbands will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. ( Romans 1)
Do you see the Gospel , the plan of salvation is an equal opportunity plan available to everyone who believes. And God has given everyone two witnesses so they are without excuse.
Today if you hear his voice- do not harden your heart.
What we are about to study as we look at Pharaohs response to the Truth of who God is and his continued refusal to obey Gods commands is a clear picture of what we read will happen in the future in the Great Tribulation. When once again the mighty hand of God will strike but not before a loving God has reached out with the outstretched arm of love and grace. They go together, you know, the outstretched arm and the mighty hand. Let me show you where they await you. There- do you see them? They are stretched out on a rugged cross, the hands are nailed with cruel spikes, but they are stretched out to heaven with one request made by our Savior: Father Forgive them for they know not what they are doing? Have you put your hand in the hand that created the world and everything in it? Have you allowed those outstretched arms to receive you into his kingdom like the father of the Prodigal did his returning son?
Put your hand in the Hand of Almighty God. He will never let you go.
On the other hand, if you do not- it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
Here in lies the warning:
Go to the people and say, you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For the peoples heart has become hardened; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes (minds). Otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. Isaiah 6Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14